Thinking about moving to Miami? Magic City is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., brimming streets featuring Art Deco architecture, trendy fashion scenes, celebrations of diversity, and more! Plus, Miami residents can experience exceptional South Florida weather, a variety of job opportunities, and a booming art scene. If you’re ready to plant roots in the Sunshine State, here are 16 things to know about living in Miami!
In 1896, Ohio native Julia Tuttle wanted to create a new city along the Miami River. While the area was initially inhabited by the Tequesta Native American Tribe, it was Julia Tuttle—with the help of railroad owner Henry Flagler—who suggested this area of South Florida be developed into a city and used to grow citrus crops. Over the course of 110 years, Miami went from 300 citizens to almost 5 million, gaining the nickname “Magic City” due to its rapid growth. Now, the “Mother of Miami” is honored by her namesake road, the Julia Tuttle Causeway, which connects the city to Miami Beach and Flagler Street.
The cost of living in Miami may be high, but like other popular U.S. cities with large price tags, including San Francisco and New York City, this Southeastern metro is well worth the cost for its white-sand beaches, vibrant culture, and thriving arts scene. For those considering a move to Miami, there’s a range of neighborhoods that are safe and affordable for young professionals, families, and retirees alike. To meet Miami’s housing needs, the Miami Affordability Project (MAP) focuses on providing and distributing affordable housing to city residents. Miami residents can appreciate more than housing, though. The average cost of healthcare in Miami is lower than the national average, and there is no state income tax, inheritance tax, or estate tax in Magic City, which means this Florida city offers businesses and individuals a low tax environment. And, if you’re interested in buying a home in Miami, this beach city is one of the best places to invest in vacation properties and Airbnb rentals.
Finding a job to fit your career path is a breeze when you’re moving to Miami! Finance, commerce, international business, healthcare, and media are just a few of the industries which create jobs in Miami. Some companies headquartered in Magic City include Burger King, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Telemundo, Perry Ellis International, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Fortune 500 company Lennar, and the University of Miami Health System. Tourism and trade are staples of this area’s economy. In fact, PortMiami is known as one of the largest cargo ports in the U.S. and the Cruise Capital of the World. Plus, unemployment in Miami has continued to drop significantly, so this Florida metro has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S.!
Education is an important part of Miami life, especially with more than 500 schools in the area! Miami-Dade County Public Schools is both the biggest school district in Florida and the fourth-largest in the U.S. Schools in Miami, like Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH School) and International Studies Charter School, rank in the top 30 best high schools in the U.S. due to their high test scores and strong graduation rates. Ransom Everglades School and Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart are two top-notch private schools known for college prep, STEM, marine science, and video production programs. The Miami area also has several highly-rated universities—University of Miami, Florida International University, and Barry University—for those interested in furthering their education, competing at a Division I school, or pursuing a career in higher education.
Largely considered one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. and a “15-minute city,” Magic City has a variety of transportation options for commuters across the Miami metro. On an average weekday, there are more than 168,000 people boarding some mode of Miami-Dade County Public Transportation. The Miami Metrobus is the most common form of transportation, with access to nearby areas including Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Florida City, and more! The free Metromover operates seven days a week in Downtown Miami, while the Miami Trolley has more than 10 different routes at no cost! Miami International Airport is easy to reach via the Miami Metrorail. Or ride-sharing company Freebee offers complimentary, smart-car transportation around Miami hot spots like Key Biscayne, Ocean View Heights, and Coconut Grove.
Looking for things to do in Miami? Festival-goers will love jamming out to major DJs like The Chainsmokers and Marshmello at Ultra Music Festival. Grab your tickets and sip on your favorite drink while watching some of the top tennis players in the world at the Miami Open. Book a Miami fishing charter and go off the coast for deep-sea fishing. Take a day trip to the Everglades and be a part of a swamp tour to see alligators and manatees. And if you’re looking for some family-friendly activities in Miami, let your little ones take a dip at the outdoor water playground or swimming pool at Flamingo Park!
Magic City is home to some of the best beaches in the U.S., like Miami Beach. The Sunshine State offers residents access to 248 days of sunshine, so Miami fun can continue on Florida’s sandy beaches year-round. Miami Beach runs beside the Atlantic Ocean for nine miles and includes three iconic neighborhoods—North Beach, Mid-Beach, and South Beach. Beat the heat and escape to Biscayne Bay where Historic Virginia Key Beach Park offers Miami residents a variety of shady oases, stretches of surf, and swaying palms. Sink your toes into Miami sand or enjoy a variety of seaside eateries at South Pointe Park. Stay and watch the fishers gather on South Pointe Pier. Get in your workout at Lummus Park, which has built-in, nature-themed workout structures that double as art pieces. Build sandcastles and cool off in the ocean at Crandon Park. Or enjoy beaches, high-end shopping, and fine dining at Bal Harbour!
From food and clothes, to art and music, life in Miami is influenced by cultures from all over the world, including the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Africa. Miami is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” because more than 66% of the city’s population are Spanish speakers. With more than 1 million Cubans in the greater Miami area, you can see the culture’s strong influence along Calle Ocho, located in the heart of Little Havana. Here, you’ll find locals smoking rolled cigars from El Titan de Bronze or enjoying a Special Cuban Sandwich and Cafe Cubano (Cuban espresso) from Miami hot spot Versailles.
International food vendors, musical artists, and street dancers take center stage at Miami’s Calle Ocho Music Festival! Started in 1978 to bring the city’s Cuban community together, the free Calle Ocho Festival—also known as Carnaval Miami—is one of the biggest street parties in the U.S. This free Miami festival brings in more than 1 million people and holds the record for the longest conga line in the world. Festival attendees are given a schedule packed with events like the Miss Carnaval Miami competition, Domino Tournament, and Golf Classic. Plus, Kings and Queens who represent the pillars of the Latin American community are crowned every year. If you want to get in the Carnaval spirit beforehand, Carnaval on the Mile is a pre-festival weekend event in Coral Gables where partygoers can experience local art, live music, and cultural cuisine!
Miami is known as “America’s gay melting pot” and as an extremely gay-friendly destination for travel and living. The heart of the LGBTQ scene, the South Beach district, features the LGBT Visitor Center, which is backed by the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Miami supports young residents and their queer experience through organizations like Pridelines and Safe Schools South Florida. Stop by Little Havana, Miami where you can honor your story at the Gay8 Festival and experience live music, fashion, dancing, and more. Celebrate Miami’s diverse spirit at Miami Beach Pride. Attend a weekend of drag shows, musical performances, and DJs at Wynwood Pride. Watch culturally-diverse films dedicated to presenting historical and contemporary perspectives on the LGBTQ experience at OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival: Miami. Dine and drink in comfort while cheering on your local drag divas at Palace. Or spend an evening at Twist, the longest-running gay club in Miami, which hosts events like House Party Tuesdays and Showtune Wednesdays!
With five professional sports teams calling the 305 home, going to a game in Miami is a must! Tailgate with brews and hot dogs outside of the Hard Rock Stadium before watching the Miami Dolphins (NFL) take home a win. Witness the three-time champion Miami Heat (NBA) shoot nothing but net at FTX Arena (previously named American Airlines Arena). Buy some peanuts and popcorn while you root for the Miami Marlins (MLB) to steal home base at loanDepot Park. Watch your favorite player go for a hat trick while supporting Inter Miami CF (MLS). Or cheer on the Florida Panthers (NHL) as they score their way to the Stanley Cup at the FLA Live Arena.
Living in Miami means living in a developing fashion capital! Over the years, the Miami area has seen a large influx of designers, luxury brands, photographers, and models, making it a top spot for the fashion-forward to establish modern trends and get noticed. One of the first and most famous designers to be drawn here was Gianni Versace in 1992, and you can still visit his apartment-turned-fashion mansion today. Since then, many world-renowned designers like Dior, Christian Louboutin, and Giorgio Armani have set up shop here, creating and growing the Miami Design District. The city also hosts several fashion events, including Miami Swim Week and Miami Fashion Week. And if it’s always been your dream to rock the runway, Wilhelmina Models, Elite Model Management, and William Morris Agency are just a few big-name agencies that have modeling hubs in Miami.
Miami and Miami Beach host more than 20 art fairs and 1,200 galleries yearly—and though Miami Beach is home to North America’s biggest art event, Art Basel, it’s the bold Miami art scene that gives this Southern Florida metro the title of one of the best art cities in the U.S. As such an accessible area for creative visual expression, artists are sure to love living near Downtown Miami and Wynwood! The city developed Miami Art Week for new and emerging artists to display their work at fairs like Art Miami, Untitled Art Fair, and CONTEXT Art Miami. Visit South Florida’s premier arts festival, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, where digital art, clay work, watercolor, and more are on display! Interact with exhibits at Superblue Miami, or street art at the Wynwood Mural Fest. Take classes on the art of graffito at the Museum of Graffiti. View public sculptures or visit one of the permanent collections of art at the Lowe Art Museum. Or appreciate Miami art from anywhere in the world with the Miami Art Scene magazine!
One of the most unique aspects of Florida architecture is the Art Deco Historic District, located across the bay on Miami Beach. Named the first 20th-century historic district, this East Coast city contains the largest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world and is maintained by the Miami Design Preservation League. Hotels along Ocean Drive, restaurants on Washington Avenue, and bars beside Collins Avenue show bold geometric patterns, porthole windows, and exotic flora prints. But you’ll know when you’ve made it to the Art Deco Welcome Center when you’re surrounded by pastel orange, pink, purple, and blue buildings.
In a place as diverse as Magic City, it should come as no surprise that Miami draws inspiration from Latin and Caribbean flavors. Feast on Queso Fundido or the Chicharron while sipping on a margarita out of a sugar skull at Tacology. Savor the Clasico de Toda La Vida or El Del Barrio at CVI.CHE 105, one of the best Peruvian restaurants in Miami. Order the Tropical, Alaskan, or Terminator sandwich with a Rainbow Smoothie at La Sandwicherie. Dine at one of the top restaurants in Miami for seafood at Joe’s Stone Crab. Searching for the best desserts in Miami? Have a slice of the famous Key Lime Pie and S’mores Brownie from Fireman Derek’s Bake Shop. Or grab dessert for breakfast with a Strawberry Shortcake doughnut or Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake doughnut at The Salty Donut.
Whether you’re looking to share a few glasses of wine with your friends or have a weekend filled with dancing and bottle service, you’ll find that Miami nightlife is full of excitement! Dance with your friends, enjoy happy hour specials, or reserve your spot at Lime Cay Sundays at Blackbird Ordinary. Enjoy artists like Drumcode Miami, Solid Grooves, and Mason Collective at CLUB SPACE, a Miami club giving back to their community through the Space Scholarship Fund. Try unique blends of wine that include avocado, passion fruit, lychee, or mango at Schnebly Redland’s Winery. Tear up the dance floor at LIV. Or have a ball at circus-themed STORY, a popular Miami nightclub offering high-energy entertainment from DJs like Dillon Francis and DJ-Pauly D.
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